The IODE Ocean Data Portal: Concept Paper
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During the past 46 years, IOC Member States have built a network of National Oceanographic Data Centres (NODCs) (or their smaller Designated National Agency version) through the IODE Programme. The objectives of the IODE (revised at IODE-XVIII in 2005) are: (i) to facilitate and promote the exchange of all marine data and information including metadata, products and information in real-time, near real time and delayed mode; (ii) to ensure the long term archival, management and services of all marine data and information; (iii) to promote the use of international standards, and develop or help in the development of standards and methods for the global exchange of marine data and information, using the most appropriate information management and information technology; (iv) to assist Member States to acquire the necessary capacity to manage marine data and information and become partners in the IODE network; and (v) to support international scientific and operational marine programmes of IOC and WMO and their sponsor organisations with advice and data management services. The recurring keyword in the objectives is “exchange” or sharing data between two or more partners. During the pre-internet era (i.e. 1960-1990) of IODE, the NODCs exchanged data with other NODCs using physical media such as tapes, disks, etc. Users were served using the same media. As from the late 1980s the Internet (through email, ftp and WWW) started its spectacular growth and NODCs gradually started exchanging data and information through this new mode of transport. During the past five years many, although not all, NODCs have developed web interfaces enabling users to query and retrieve datasets from the NODC databases. This has been a major improvement to “the old days” but it has not fully satisfied the user community.